I-House lecture series looks into past for new perspective on IraqBy Seth Sanders
What role did the United States play in bringing Saddam Hussein to power in the first place? What has happened in the past when European powers invaded Iraq? And what does oil really have to do with it? While the airwaves are flooded with the latest news about Iraq, the events of decades and centuries past provide a different perspective.
International House’s Rethinking America in the Middle East lecture series, which began early this month and will continue through May, invites Chicago scholars and international leaders to explore the issues surrounding Iraq. The lecture series, which routinely will take place in the International House Assembly Hall at 7 p.m., began on Monday, April 7, with a panel on “Constraining and Shaping Nationalism: The United States and Iraq.” Rashid Khalidi, Director of the Center for International Studies and Professor in History and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and Salim Yaqub, Assistant Professor in History, each gave talks.
Yaqub showed how the United States and Europe helped create modern Iraq, and how we have alternated between support of Iraq and support of its enemies, depending on our perceived interests. Khalidi discussed the history of European invasion and Iraqi opposition to foreign occupation, concluding that much depends on how the United States shares power and oil in Iraq. “The post-war will be more complex and difficult than the war itself,” Khalidi said.
This 20th-century analysis was immediately followed the next evening by a look at more than 3,000 to 5,000 years of Iraqi history in “Iraq Before Saddam Hussein,” with McGuire Gibson, Professor in the Oriental Institute and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and Fred Donner, Professor in the Oriental Institute and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. The program, sponsored by the International House Global Voices Program, the Norman Wait Harris Fund of the Center for International Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Human Rights Program, will continue throughout the quarter.
On Thursday, April 17, John Mearsheimer, the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in Political Science and the College, and Robert Pape, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College, will present “The War in Iraq and America’s Role in the World.”
Other lectures in the series are as follows:
All lectures are free and open to the public. International House is at 1414 E. 59th St. and on the Web at http://ihouse.uchicago.edu.
People with disabilities who require assistance may contact the International House Office of Programs and Special Events in advance at (773) 753-2274.